The Unwin Charitable Trust was established in 1975 by the publisher Rayner Unwin CBE and was founded on a bequest from his father, Sir Stanley Unwin.
Sir Stanley Unwin (1884–1968) was one of the most distinguished publishers of the 20th century and founded George Allen and Unwin Ltd in 1914. Throughout his long career, Sir Stanley was a prominent and influential figure in the book trade, active in the Publishers' Association, the International Publishers' Association and the British Council.
Rayner Unwin took over the publishing firm and chaired it through a time of great change in the industry. It was his wish that help should be available for projects that promote the publishing and dissemination of books, or which encourage the education and welfare of those in the book trade.
Since its formation in 1975 the Trust has sponsored many projects and initiatives in the fields of publishing, bookselling and printing and its Trustees continue to support individuals and organisations whose aims are to improve and expand the book trade.The Trust began by supporting Book Trust and the Publishing Training Centre. These relationships still thrive but the Trust now also supports many other good causes that benefit and promote publishing and the distribution of the printed word, schemes that encourage literacy and the enjoyment of reading. The Trust has recently begun offering a mentoring service to independent booksellers.